Formerly Arabic wedding was a usual phenomenon among Muslims in Malabar. Old Arabs in 60s or 70s used to marry teen age girls, live together for some months and go back to their own countries leaving behind the girls. The girls were bound to live pathetic life back home with or without children. When time passed, such uncivilised weddings became a thing of the past. But, a recent incident took place in Kozhikode compels us to believe that it still happens.
A 17 years old girl of CIESCO (Citizen’s Intellectual, Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation, established in 1956) Yatim Khana (orphanage) was married off to a 28 years old UAE citizen. Girl’s mother is a domestic help in some houses in Kozhikode. Yatim Khana managers are alleged to have compelled the girl to marry the young Arab whose father is a UAE citizen and mother belonging to Kozhikode. For about ten days after the marriage, the groom took bride to several locations in Kerala for honeymoon at the end of which he divorced her as per Islamic rituals. Now, the girl and her mother intend to take legal actions against CIESCO. Women activists, including Muslims, demonstrated in front of CIESCO. There is already a demand for the cancellation of the registration of CIESCO.
A couple of months back Kerala was undergoing a controversial discussion about lowering the age for marriage of Muslim girls to 16. Child Welfare Committee office bearers visited the girl and were convinced that Yatim Khana did a wrong thing. They recommended the case against the Yatim Khana managers.
MN Karasserry, a progressive Muslim and retired teacher, said that no “nikah” sans girl’s consent is valid as per Islamic practice even though the wedding was arranged by her parents.She believes that this is nothing but prostitution. She demanded the cancellation of Yatim Khana’s registration.
O Abdullah, editor of Madhyamam daily, the mouth piece of Jamath-e-Islami, tells that since the marriage was performed after giving the mahar (the masculine dowry), it cannot be called prostitution. He would not agree to the cancellation of the CIESCO registration, because this is after all an isolated incident. But, he agreed, Yatim Khana’s step was wrong.
Arab boy’s mother told the media that her son was taken to Yatim Khana to select the girls from among the other inmates. She further said that there was a middleman to facilitate the marriage. The man introduced himself as the brother of the second husband of the girl’s mother and asked for Rs 2.5 lakh after the marriage. She confirmed that the wedding was performed in the presence of the management of the Yatim Khana. All concerned ignored the rule that the marriage of a girl below 18 is illegal.Police enquiry is over and it is proved that girl had undergone sexual assaults. Report is said to be handed over to the DG of Police, Kerala. Arab boy is the first accused in the case registered by the police.
So, it looks like wherever Muslims are in majority, they try to revive the uncivilised practices which were buried forever in the past. Therefore, people of Kerala have to take care about the division of the State and the districts “for the sake of administrative conveniences and development.”